The Leaning Tower of Pisa is now stable and has even straightened slightly thanks to engineering work to save the world-renowned tourist attraction, experts said on Wednesday.
The tower's Surveillance Group, set up to monitor restoration progress, said in a statement that after 17 years of observation "the Tower of Pisa is stable and very slowly reducing its lean."
Engineering Professor Nunziante Squeglia of Pisa University said that the 57-metre (186-feet) monument had straightened by four centimetres (1.5 inches), Italian media reported.
The so-called Surveillance Group was set up after Michele Jamiolkowski, an engineer of Polish origin who adopted Italian nationality, coordinated an international committee to rescue the landmark between 1993 and 2001.
The Tower was closed to the public in January 1990 for 11 years over safety fears, as its tilt reached 4.5 meters (15 feet) from the vertical. It has since been straightened by more than 40 centimetres. The medieval tower, a symbol of the power of the maritime republic of Pisa in the Middle Ages, has leaned to one side ever since building started in 1173.
Here are some interesting facts about the tower:
The building of the leaning Tower of Pisa, and especially its completion, represents the last element in the compliment of the ceremonial complex of monuments that enrich the Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of miracles).
The project included four representative monuments in the city of Pisa, Italy: the Cathedral of Pisa (Il Duomo di Pisa), the Baptistry, the Bell Tower of Pisa, Monumental Cemetery
The first phase of Pisa Tower’s construction is attributed to Bonanno Pisano or Gherardo di Gherardo. Giovanni Pisano and Giovanni di Simone continued the second phase of the building. Tommaso Pisano finished the tower’s construction.
(With inputs from towerofpisa.org)